Two years ago, Mattel was forced to make massive product recalls due to lead poisoning of paint. Last June the Consumer Product Safety Commission fined Mattel $2.3 million for violation of federal regulations on lead paint. A design flaw also led to a recall of products with small magnets. The problems hurt the company’s market share.
Part of Mattel’s response is to carefully audit its environmental performance and change design practices. Some examples are laid out in the company’s 2009 Global Citizen Report.
CEO Robert Eckert says: “Mattel’s sustainability strategy is focused on helping the company minimize its footprint throughout the value chain-from design to manufacturing through disposal of products and waste, and illustrates the importance of personal commitment in business and everyday practices.”
One change is to design products with a full lifecycle mindset. “Historically, our sustainability efforts have focused on the manufacturing process, but we recognize that opportunity also lies in how we design our products and packaging,” says Eckert. Mattel is working hard now to incorporate recycled content into packaging, and to reduce the amount of packaging used. Last year, Mattel partnered with Amazon to reduce packaging materials during shipping.
Several other interesting changes are highlighted in the report. The company, for example, shifted from hydraulic to electric injection molding machines, saving 40 percent on electricity costs.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.